Yankee Stadium home run binge explained

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Looking for an explanation for all of the homers in Yankee Stadium? It’s the walls, stupid:

After analyzing the 29 games played and the 105 home runs hit at the
new Yankee Stadium, AccuWeather.com has determined that a portion of
the home run derby that has taken place this season cannot be directly
attributed to the weather. As it turns out, walls, not weather, are the
homer helpers for 19 percent of the home runs thus far in the new
Yankee Stadium.

The difference is in the dimensions. For someone attending a game at
the new Yankee Stadium, or watching on TV, the size of the playing
field appears to be the same. The dimensions at select corners of the
field are identical – and the posted numbers on the walls reflect that.
However, detailed schematics of the park reveal some nuances that have
significant implications.

Specifically, AccuWeather notes that the change from a curved to a flat
wall in right field to accommodate a new scoreboard causes the fence to
jog in between four and nine feet. As a result, AccuWeather calculates
that that 20 of the 105 home runs would not have flown out of the old
stadium. Over the course of the season, that will account for 56 homers
that would have fallen short of the fence in the old joint. That’s not
an insignificant number of home runs.

What to do about it? Well, returning the wall to Old Yankee Stadium
dimensions would require removing a couple of rows of seats, it would
seem, and if we know anything about the Yankees, we know that they’re
not about to sacrifice a revenue stream. And it’s not as if there’s
much room to move home plate back, as it’s already very close to the
wall as it is.

Eureka! Remove the seats behind home plate! It’s not as if anyone is sitting there anyway . . .

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.